Honchak (9-2) and Smith (6-4-1) traded blows in the all-action bout, but it was Honchak’s technical striking and ability to take Smith to the ground and inflict damage that was the difference. All three judges scored the bout 49-46.
“I knew Leslie would be tough,” said Honchak, who has won seven fights in a row. “I wanted to take her down because that’s what I’ve been working on. I thought we had a great striking battle. I think we had one close round, but at least four of the rounds were mine:”
Smith didn’t disagree with the decision when asked about the judges’ scorecards at the post-fight press conference. “Barb was the better fighter tonight,” Smith said. “I feel like I never turned it on 100 percent. It wasn’t a surprise to me at the end because I feel like I could have fought a much better fight.”
Lauren Murphy (8-0) won inaugural Invicta FC Bantamweight Championship via fourth round TKO when the previously unbeaten Miriam Nakamoto (2-1, 1 NC) had to stop fighting due to a knee injury.
Murphy and Nakamoto traded shots in the first two rounds before the undefeated Murphy turned the tide with a takedown toward the end of the third. Nakamoto appeared to injure her knee during the takedown and struggled to get back up with Murphy repeatedly landing blows to close out the round.
Just 23 seconds into the fourth, Nakamoto slipped and instantly grabbed her right knee as she fell to the canvas in pain. Referee Mike England immediately ended the bout. “When I came back in the third I just wanted to keep it going the next couple of rounds,” Murphy said. “I think she’s an amazing fighter and if she wants a rematch I’d be happy to do it.
“I saw her nose was bloodied and I could taste the blood in my mouth from when she hit me. Nothing gets you more excited than two people beating the shit out of each other.”
Tecia Torres (3-0) put on a dominant performance to keep her undefeated record intact against Felice Herrig (9-5) with a unanimous decision (30-27 three times). Herrig, who was making her highly-anticipated Invicta debut, was completely dominated by the shorter Torres, who showcased an impressive arsenal of strikes and kicks.
“What shocked me was total domination,” Torres said. “I’ve always looked up to her so it was an honor to be in the same cage. Everything just came together. People think I’m one dimensional, but not tonight… I think I’m pretty close to the title, but I’m in no rush.”
In a battle of unbeatens, Joanne Calderwood (8-0) handed fellow strawweight contender Katja “Killer Bunny” Kankaanpaa (8-1-1) her first loss with a unanimous decision scored 29-28 by all three judges. “I’ll just fight whoever is in front of me,” said Calderwood when asked if she deserves a shot at the Invicta Strawweight belt. “That’s my job. I’ll leave the rest up to them.”
Julia Budd (6-2) defeated fellow Canadian Charmaine Tweet (4-4) to remain undefeated in four bouts under the Invicta banner with convincing unanimous decision victory (30-27). After the fight, Budd didn’t back down when asked by Invicta analyst Miesha Tate if she’d like to fight Invicta Featherweight World Champion Cris Cyborg Justino. “I’m looking to be the best and looking to fight the best,” Budd said. “Whoever they put in front of me I’m happy to fight.”
Vanessa Porto (16-6) kicked off the PPV telecast with a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 twice) over Zoila Frausto Gurgel (12-4) in a three-round flyweight.
Tonya Evinger (12-6) closed out the free one-hour live viewing portion with a unanimous decision (29-28 three times) over Sarah D’ Alelio (7-5). In the opening bout of the evening, flyweight Nina Ansaroff (6-4) scored a TKO (strikes) at 3:54 of the second round over Munah Holland (5-3).